As I strolled down the streets of Potong Pasir a couple of days back, my attention was suddenly drawn to a banner pasted at the entrance door to a bank. The banner proudly proclaimed "Best-Performing Bank Singapore 2021, stating that it was one of the "Top 1000 World Banks". I couldn't help but pause and study the banner, feeling puzzled by the outdated information it displayed.
I began to wonder, how could a bank be proud of a ranking from two years prior? I could guess its objective in brand building, but I could not fathom how anybody could think that this is portraying the organization's strength. To me, this seemed like a strange and ineffective way to communicate the bank's success.
It was then that I came to the conclusion that something was missing in this organization. The use of outdated information in the banner suggested a lack of attention to detail, a lack of understanding about the importance of timely and relevant marketing. It was clear to me that this bank was missing a critical element and talent, a role of perspective in business success, the generalists.
In the world of business, the generalists are talents with broad range of skills and knowledge. They bring a unique perspective to the workplace that is not limited by their expertise in a specific area. In contrast, specialists are experts in a particular field and possess deep knowledge in that area. While both types of employees are important, having generalists in an organization can play a critical role in promoting innovation, fostering collaboration, and driving business success.
They have the eyes to see the big picture and understand how different aspects of a business fit together. They can identify potential challenges and opportunities that specialists may not see and develop innovative solutions that bring value to the organization as a whole. This big-picture perspective helps to eliminate silos and promote collaboration, leading to better results and more efficient use of resources.
On the other hand, specialists bring deep expertise and experience to the table, and their skills are essential to the success of the organization. However, a workforce composed solely of specialists can lead to narrow thinking and limited perspectives.
To build more generalists, organizations can encourage employees to broaden their skills and knowledge through cross-training, mentorship programs, and professional development opportunities. By embracing a mix of generalists and specialists, they can achieve a balanced and effective workforce that is well-equipped to meet the demands of today's business landscape.
In conclusion, generalists play a critical role in promoting innovation, fostering collaboration, and driving business success. By providing a big-picture perspective, they help organizations to understand their opportunities and challenges, coordinate their efforts, and develop innovative solutions. To build a strong and well-rounded workforce, companies should strive to cultivate both generalists and specialists, embracing the strengths of each type of employee to achieve their goals and stay ahead of the competition.